La Salle University's new president focused on access to underserved communities

Dr. Daniel Allen's mission aligns with the university's focus on social justice, equity and inclusion.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Big changes are coming to La Salle University and it's starting from the top.

Dr. Daniel Allen, who has been tapped to serve as the university's 30th president, is coming to Philadelphia from Chicago with a fresh perspective on social justice, equity and collegiate access.

"We begin by creating an inclusive and equitable environment where all learn regardless of your background are welcomed," said Allen.

His mission aligns with the university's focus on social justice, equity and inclusion, and the numbers back that up.

SEE ALSO: La Salle University hires Daniel Allen as the school's newest president

"Forty-two percent of our students identify as students of color, 37 percent of our students receive Pell Grants, 28 percent of our students are the first in their families to attend a college or university," he said.

On the campus tour, Allen got a chance to meet with students, including a group of young men from Philadelphia with big dreams.

"After I graduate, I want to go to law school," said Romario Holness, a senior from Northeast Philadelphia.

"I'm a first-generation student. I felt it was attainable so that's why I'm here right now," said Julius Green, a senior from West Philadelphia.

With more than 20 years of experience in educational development, Allen says he's committed to improving access to underserved communities and creating more funding for scholarships through philanthropy.

"Unfortunately, all universities are really struggling right now, and I think that having an incoming president that is dedicated to the longevity is really important to us," said Emily Dorr, vice president of the student body.

In December, La Salle University received a near-perfect score of 99 from the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate report among student-athletes.

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